Syrian diplomacy and military circles are closely monitoring the accelerated efforts of the countries in the region to establish a regional alliance of which took a concrete shape after the victory of the Syrian Army and its allies in Aleppo and also the joint Moscow declaration of Turkey, Russia and Iran on Syria.
"Turkey and Syria's interests overlap each other"
Ret. Syrian General Turki Hassan speaking to Aydınlık Daily pointed out that one of the most significant factors which caused a major shift in Turkey's foreign policy orientation particularly in Syria was the PYD's intense efforts on establishing an autonomous region in the Northern Syria adding that Turkey's stance in that particular issue is also compatible with the national interests of Damascus.
"PYD's so-called federation in the north of Syria extends to the Iraqi border through Syrian city Afrin. I think this incident provoked Turkey as well as it provoked Syria. Because it is a part of our country," said Hassan in a private meeting with Aydınlık Daily correspondent Mehmet Kıvanç in Damascus.
Ret. General Turki Hassan, head of the Damascus Strategic Research Center also said, "Turkey, Russia and Iran's joint Syria Summit in Moscow and their consensus on bringing the conflicting parties in Syria together in the Kazakh capital Astana are all welcomed by Damascus," adding that they closely monitor Turkey's new foreign policy approach which is at the direction of establishing a convergence platform with the countries of the region.
In terms of the critical turning points that shaped Turkey's new foreign policy orientation Hassan said, "The July 15 coup attempt was a breaking point however, we have been observing a major axial dislocation in Turkish foreign policy since about April 2016" adding that "This change is not a favor of the Turkish government [to Syria] but because they are in a difficult situation. The very first factor which prepared the ground for this change was the strong patience of the Syrian government during the last five years."
"The West left Erdogan alone"
In regards to the important events in terms of Turkey's policy change timeline Hassan said, "I think, the West left Erdogan alone after Turkey shot down a Russian jet in the Syria border in 2014."
Hassan also said, "There were new changes emerged after the coup. President Erdogan blamed the West and showed them responsible. On the other hand, President Bashar al-Assad did not stand beside this military coup. On the contrary, he condemned it along with Russia and Iran. This was the breaking point of the transformation process. At that time, he had to make more daring decisions to close the Syria border as more than seventy per cent of the losses we had were due to the problems in the Turkish border and the AKP's policies."
Could Erdogan really change his point of view?
Hassan responded to the question regarding whether Erdogan could really change his point of view in his Syria policy saying, "Syria is pleased with Turkey's process of change. But there are always some critical questions in our minds: One of these questions is whether President Erdogan will change his policy on Syria or will he be able to leave his personal interests and also party interests aside? I strongly suggest him to change it step by step for the common benefit of the two countries.”